City Diplomacy: The Expanding Role of Cities in International Politics

This Clingendael Diplomatic Studies Paper is the product of a pilot project on city diplomacy undertaken in late 2006. The aim of the pilot project is to find a theoretical basis for, and to give an overview of, the diplomatic developments taking place at the level of cities or local governments in general. Given that few theorists have published on the topic of city diplomacy, the information presented in this paper was gathered primarily through interviews with involved actors. Interviews primarily took place in the Netherlands. This paper should, for that reason, be seen as a first effort to grasp the scope and complexity of the issue at hand and will hopefully serve as input for more extensive research on the role of cities in diplomacy. We would like to thank the city of The Hague for its sponsorship of the project. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the interviewees for dedicating their precious time; their insights have been of great value to this research.

About the Author

Rogier van der Pluijm was Research Assistant with the Clingendael Diplomatic Studies Programme from September 2006 until March 2007. He holds an MA degree in Policy, Communication and Organization from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) and an MA degree in International Peace and Security (with distinction) from King’s College London.

Jan Melissen, Director of the Clingendael Diplomatic Studies Programme, initiated and supervised this pilot study, and he will be in charge of future Clingendael research on city diplomacy.

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